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Schori urges compassion on migrants

18 July 2014

by a staff reporter


Precarious: Central American migrants travel on top of a freight train going north towards the Mexican border with the US, in Ixtepec, Mexico, on Saturday

Precarious: Central American migrants travel on top of a freight train going north towards the Mexican border with the US, in Ixtepec, Mexico,...

RELIGIOUS leaders have called on President Obama to respond "compassionately" to the mounting humanitarian crisis along the Texas border, where thousands of unaccompanied children have been trying to cross over from Central America.

In the past nine months, United States border officials say they have come across 52,000 unaccompanied minors, owing largely to a dramatic rise in the number of children fleeing from gang-related and other violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

President Obama has called for $3.7 billion in emergency funding: some of which would be spent on speeding up deportations, as Republicans say they will support the plan only if there is emphasis on immediate repatriation.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, spoke of the US's "chequered history" over immigration: "The influx of vulnerable people . . . continues to challenge the United States to respond compassionately." She urged Episcopalians to contact their representatives in Congress and ask them to "support an appropriate humanitarian response".

President Obama flew to Texas last week to meet local politicians and the State Governor, Rick Perry, one of his chief Republican critics. Mr Perry has said that he will not support the $3.7 billion request, saying that the President should be sending the National Guard to the border to tighten security.

Also present at the meeting with the President was the director of disaster recovery for the Texas Baptist Convention, Chris Liebrum. He told the Christian Post: "Our message and focus is on the children. We need to care for the children who are here now. . . It's the lack of a good immigration policy as to why this crisis - this disaster - has come about."

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